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Glossary - A

  • Absinthe An alcoholic drink popularized in France in the early 20th century associated with Bohemian life and also known as The Green Fairy made from wormwood , aniseed and other aromatic plants  such as star anis , fennel , hyssop , veronica , lemon, lemon balm, angelica root , dittany, coriander , juniper and nutmeg. Wormwood  is its principal ingredient and lends it its characteristic bitter taste and green colour.
  • Absolutes Concentrated essential oils extracted by means of the enfleurage method - used to obtain delicate fragrances such as jasmine , rose, gardenia, orange blossoms, angelica and other flowers. In the enfleurage method delicate flower petals, collected in the early morning are placed on glass plates and covered with fatty oils. Once these petals are spent they are replaced with fresh ones. The fatty oils that cover the petals absorb the essential oils ( concretes ) and are rinsed with alcohol afterwards. Once the alcohol evaporates you are left with concentrated essential oils known as absolutes.
  • Agave This is the plant from which drinks such as Tequila , Mixto and Pulque are made from. It may take 10 to 12 years for this plant to reach full maturity.
  • Aging Period during which eau-de-vie is stored in barrels to acquire the characteristics of the wood and improve the quality. Most eaux-de-vie are placed in oak barrels to impart colour and a pleasant bouquet. The same distillate may be of varying quality, have a different aroma or colour depending on the length of time it is allowed to age.
  • Aguardente Portuguese term for eau-de-vie .
  • %v/v - is an abbreviation for percentage volume of a substance of the total volume - e.g. 12.5 % v/v ethanol. = 12.5 ml ethanol in approx. 87.5 ml water Alcohol concentration is stated as ethanol as it is the predominant alcohol in wine often seen on wine labels as 12.5 % Alc. or 12.5 ALC/VOL or ALCOHOL 12.5% BY VOLUME (note the predominant alcohol in wine is ethanol).
  • Alcohol hydrometer = Alcoholmeter
  • Term used to designate the level of alcohol present in an alcoholic beverage. The alcoholic volume is presented in percentage value.
  • Alcoholmeter Oenology instrument also known as Alcohol hydrometer which allows for the measurement of the density of an alcoholic distillate. This instrument is calibrated at 20º C and should be used in conjunction with a thermometer for determining precise cutting points of a distillate.
  • Alembic Distillation apparatus employed for the distillation of eau-de-vies , essential oils and floral waters . It is made up of 3 parts: a)  pot b)  swan neck lid c)  condenser . Depending on the model the system may include different parts such as a preheater ( Charentais Alembic ) or column such as the Rotating Column Alembic or Reflux Column Alembic ). The origin of the word alembic comes from the Arabic al-ambiq which lends weight to the argument that the Arabs invented this distilling apparatus.
  • Alembic head = Vapour Chamber
  • Alquitar Distilling apparatus suitable for distilling eau-de-vies , essential oils and floral waters . The alquitar still is made up of 2 parts ( pot and condenser ) as opposed to the alembic still which has 3 parts ( pot , swan neck lid and condenser ). The head incorporates a vapour chamber inside and a bowl shaped condenser for holding cold water on top. The distillate vapours collect inside the vapour chamber and condense to liquid form once they come in contact with the cold surface of the condenser . Due to its characteristic shape, the space necessary for distilation is reduced considerably.
  • Amygdala Structure that forms part of the limbic system responsible for processing memory and emotions.
  • Analgesic A generic term that describes the various pharmacological substances used for relieving pain. Most analgesics also have antipyretic properties.
  • Angelica An herbaceous plant from the Nordic regions with a flavour similar to juniper . It is much used for the making of essential oils due to its therapeutic properties (calming, antiseptic, tonic, digestive), for flavouring liqueurs and for making perfumes.
  • Angels’ share Portion of alcohol that is lost through evaporation when aging wines and eau-de-vies . This phenomenon occurs because alcohol is a volatile substance.
  • Aniseed An herbaceous plant from the Mediterranean. It has excellent antiseptic properties and is often used as a condiment, for flavouring eau-de-vies , for oral hygiene, as an insect repellent and to for making essential oils due to its therapeutic properties.
  • Pharmacological agent used to combat intestinal worms.
  • Pharmacological agent used to combat inflammation. These substances may also act as analgesics .
  • Pharmacological agent for reducing fever and its associated symptoms.
  • Pharmacological agent that stops the proliferation of bacteria on the external regions of the body.
  • Antispasmodic Pharmacological substance that helps prevent and calm muscle spasms (involuntary muscle contraction frequently accompanied by localised neuromuscular pain) and relieve cramps.
  • Aragh Tradicional Iraq's Moonshine made from raisins and with an alcoholic grade never below 45%.
  • Arak A strong tasting middle-eastern drink made from aniseed .
  • Armagnac A French eau-de-vie with an alcoholic volume greater than 40% from 3 distinct regions ( Bas Armagnac , Tenarèze and Haut Armagnac ) and distilled exclusively from selected white grape varieties: Ugni Blanc, Bacco 22 A, Colombard, Jurançon, Plant de Grèce, Folle Blanche et Jaune, Meslier, Clairette, Blanguette and Mauzac. The production of Armagnac reached its prime in the 19th century but suffered a crisis in 1980 because of the phylloxera plague that afflicted the region.
  • Distinctive smell or odour perceived by the olfactory system. Wine or perfume fragrance. With regard to wine the primary aroma comes from the grapes, the second from the wine making process and the thirdly from the aging process ( bouquet ).
  • Aromatherapy A complimentary therapy for restoring emotional and physical wellbeing with the use and application of essential oils . The experiments conducted by the French chemist Gattefossé laid the basis for Aromatherapy
  • Aromatic bath The addition of essential oils turns an ordinary bath into an aromatic bath. It is recommended for relieving bruising, muscular pains, for fatigue and stress. A simple and relaxing combination is made up of 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 3 drops of sandalwood .
  • Aromatic herbs Herbs with aromatic leaves, flowers, stems or roots that impart flavour and aroma to food or spirituous beverages. Many aromatic herbs have therapeutic properties that have been known since antiquity and have been used for making essential oils used in aromatherapy .
  • Plants with aromatic leaves, flowers, stems or roots that impart flavour and aroma to food or spirituous beverages. Many aromatic plants have therapeutic properties that have been known since antiquity and have been used for making essential oils used in aromatherapy .
  • Avocado Fruit of the avocado tree originally from Mexico. This fruit is very rich in sugars, proteins, vitamins and fats. Avocado carrier oil may be extracted from the flesh of the fruit.
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